Monday, February 11, 2013

Lucy Calkins - About Opinion Writing

The afternoon of Lucy Calkin's Heinemann Workshop in Orlando, FL was spent looking at writing.  Of the three types of writing emphasized in the Common Core - narrative, informational, and opinion - opinion writing is the one that we have done the least with in Kindergarten and first grade, so what does Lucy say it should look like?

Persuasive Writing In Kindergarten - Using Words to Make a Change
  • In your school - Students look for problems in the class and around the school and find solutions.  They make signs.
  • Writing letters to make a change - Write letters addressing a problem with  solutions to spark change.  You can embed a story or anecdote into a persuasive piece or add politeness in the closing.  You can persuade with information.
  • Take on a persuasive project that requires research to make the world a better place.  Sound like an expert.
Persuasive Writing in First Grade - Writing Reviews
  • Best in Show -  Ask each child to bring in a shoebox collection of something they care about.  When you care about something, you have a best.   Now how do you decide which is the best item in your collection - the winner?  Which is the second place? third place? and why did you make that choice?  Which thing in your collection takes the booby prize?  Can you defend your choices?
  • Writing reviews - First graders can write reviews of restaurants or video games or toys...    They learn to hook the reader, to defend their choices and to make comparisons.  They learn to use checklists.  They study published reviews.
  • Writing persuasive book reviews - Learn to share a summary of a book but don't spill the beans by telling the entire story.  Don't make it too long or too short.
That gives us a great outline for persuasive writing and what it should look like at both grades, but I can't wait until Lucy's new Units of Study for Writing, which are grade level specific, come out in March.  It's been ten years since the first primary units were written for K-2.  Lucy said 65% of the classrooms in the country have those units!  Wonder where the money will come from to buy the new units?

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